By Ndefru Melanie in Bamenda
As ex-fighters in continue to agitate against their long stay in DDR centres, moves are being taken to re-assure them of the process and their eventual re-integration into the society.
A workshop was recently organized in Bamenda to explain to ex-fighters and partners of the DDR centre, what the centre is all about and what it has to offer. The ministries of employment and vocational training, MINEFOP and that of youth and civic education, MINJEC, were present to explain and demonstrate through presentations how as state structures, they will intervene to better hasten the process of reintegrating ex-fighters.
Ex-fighters both in the Northwest and Southwest regions have in recent months have been agitating to get answers to their request, which continues to be a major concern of the National Coordinator, Fai Yengo Francis, who with his team visited both centers to better ameliorate the situation.
Most ex-fighters kept asking; “I don’t know when I will leave the centre, I dropped my gun hoping that I will acquire skills and do something better to help myself and my family. Being at the centre, I am not sure of when precisely I will be able to do that. I am not even sure the community will accept me given the attrocities I committed in the past”.
The sole aim of the workshop was for sensitisation, though some participants said it was quite satisfactory, some of them expressed the need to be told the truth about their stay at the centre.
“We are not sure about how much more time we shall still be at the DDR Centre, our safety is not even guaranteed in the community because we know there are still many victims suffering due to our atrocities committed in the past and we want to leave the centers and make our own money”, some Ex-fighters explained.
The National Coordinator, Fai Yengo Francis and the resource persons asked ex-fighters to understand that the hand of fellowship extended to them by the Head of State, President Paul Biya, will also be realized in the steps government is taking to re-intergrate them, asking them to be patient to better assimilate the re-intergration process.
“We are asking the ex-fighters to listen to us, we come with information to educate them on what it takes for them to be re-intergrated. They should pay less attention to detractors who don’t understand what the DDR is all about or what it has to offer. Once they keep listening to them, they will be decieved and become disgruntled”, Fai Yengo Francis insisted.
Prof Wilbroad DZE-NGWA, said the discussions should not only hold on issues concerning the DDR, but on the whole concept of the Anglophone crisis, which has turned into an armed conflict. He recommended that politicians should be more compassionate by sincerely attending to the needs of the angry population.
“Explaining what the DDR is all about, shouldn’t be the only bone of contention, but the entire subject on the Anglophone crisis. Concrete actions should be taken by politicians and other leaders, while on the ground”, Dr. Nze Ngwa emphasized.
“Politicians should wear a jacket of humanism when getting to the field. We should talk about the crisis not just the DDR. The leaders should be doing something to encourage those who are disgruntled.” Professor Wilbroad DZE-NGWA, “Foot Soldier”of Peace, Social Cohesion and Justice.
The center recorded the first ex-fighter on 4th Dec 2007 and the number has grown to over 739 present in all three centres; Northwest Southwest and North regions. And all this time, there no major concerns have come to the notice of administrators, untill recently as most ex-fighters demand for “quick” re-intergration.
The main objective of the workshop was to raise awareness so that everyone can promote peace and social cohesion, from their own perspective, hoping that the ex-fighters will eventually undersrand the evolution of things, how the DDR centre works and stay calm.
The workshop held within the background of the abduction of Kum Henry, Chief of Programs at the Centre. No information filtered about his situation.